Creative Economy

ArtsWA and WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation) worked together to form the tool called the Creative Vitality Index over ten years ago. With a few Washington non-profit groups we explored how the Creative Vitality Index (CVI) could be used to inform and advance the local creative economy. Now called the Creative Vitality Suite, the tool is used locally and across the nation to track the impact of the creative economy.

The latest data available rates Washington state's CVI index score of .97,  almost at the same level as the national index (1.00). See a snapshot report of the creative vitality of Washington State: 2014 Washington State Snapshot.

Why track the creative economy?

Around the country, civic leaders, economists, philanthropists, mainstream business leaders and arts community leaders are engaged in lively dialogue about what constitutes the creative economy and to what degree it impacts a region’s overall economic and cultural health.

Data collected through the Creative Vitality Suite, reflects the broad, systems-oriented thinking behind this dialogue and reinforces that nonprofit arts organizations and public arts agencies are part of an interdependent whole, the creative sector, the vitality of which is essential to the continuing health and vitality of the greater economy and community.The Index is an annual measure of the health of the creative economy in a city, county, state, or other geographic area. The creative economy as defined in the CVSuite includes for-profit and nonprofit arts-related enterprises. The CSuite uses readily available, inexpensive data on employment and community participation to reflects the vigor of this sector of the economy and culture.


How the Creative Suite works

The CVSuite tracks 36 selected occupational categories – including art directors and musicians, photographers and editors, dancers, exhibit designers and authors – that are highly correlated with measured skill sets in thinking creatively, originality, and fine arts knowledge. The CVSuite also tracks revenue for non-profit arts organizations, book store sales, and other data related to arts participation.

The Creative Vitality Index can inform public policy decision-making and support the work of advocates for the development of the creative economy. Among many projected uses, the CVSuite can:

  • Call attention to and educate the community at large concerning the components and dynamics of the creative economy.
  • Promote the concept that the creative economy includes both for-profit and nonprofit arts-related activities.
  • Call attention to significant changes in the creative economy ecosystem. If contributions from private foundations drop substantially in a year and three major architectural firms leave the area, it’s time for action.
  • Act as a framework upon which to define and build a coalition to support and expand the creative economy.
  • Serve as a diagnostic tool to provide baseline and then annually measure changes in the creative economy.

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